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    Posted October 30, 2008

Volunteers Needed for Falat Basket Project

L-R: Tommy Batchelor, Gregory Jbara, Kiril Kulish, Trent Kowalik
photo: John Quilty

To volunteer please contact Anne Fortuno, Project Coordinator and Assistant to the President, 212.869.8530 x 409, or Flora Stamatiades, National Director, Organizing and Special Projects, (212) 869-8530, x 419.

Tommy Batchelor, Kiril Kulish and Trent Kowalik, who all play the title character in BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, and Greg Jbara, who plays their Dad, take time out from the new musical to support Equity's Stephen J. Falat Holiday Basket Project.

Now in its 23rd year, the Basket Project gathers a network of volunteers to deliver holiday gifts to brighten the season for people in the New York area who are living with AIDS. All merchandise is new and has been donated by corporations and well as individuals.

This year, more than 3,000 colorful shopping bags filled with clothing, CDs, candy, toiletries and more, will be delivered to over 20 hospitals, AIDS hospices, pediatric AIDS centers and HIV community services.

Mitchell Michaliszyn
photo: John Quilty

The Project started in 1985 when actor Stephen J. Falat visited a handful of patients at St. Luke's Hospital, bringing his personal donation of holiday gifts. The next year, he organized the activity through Equity and 150 gift baskets were donated. The Project has continued to grow.

Mr. Falat passed away from complications from AIDS in 1991, and the Basket Project has been proudly continued in his memory. Members of Equity's Stephen J. Falat Basket Project Committee are: Arne Gundersen, Chair; Joanne Borts, Austin Colyer, Jeanne Lehman, Maureen Moore and Jean-Paul Richard.

Matthew Mindler
photo: John Quilty

Volunteers, Donations Needed

Donations of suitable goods, gifts and financial contributions can be sent to Actors' Equity, 165 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, Attention: Falat Basket Project.

To volunteer to help fill the bags or deliver them, or for further information, contact Anne Fortuno, Project Coordinator and Assistant to the President, (212) 869-8530, ext. 409.

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